This self-portrait series aims to explore the themes of brokenness, the struggles of loss and grief, the regrets of past decisions and my personal experiences with generational trauma and mental health struggles. I was raised in Germany by parents who were born in the 1930s and both experienced significant trauma as children and young adults due to World War II. My parents were both quite a bit older than many of my friends' parents, and I often perceived my home as "different" from others because they had lived through experiences that my friends' parents had not. From an early age, I would often experience the atmosphere in my home as a dark cloud that was always present, a cloud that included fear, sadness, and depression, as well as control, manipulation, and suppression. Understanding the connections between my parents' upbringing, the stories of their parents, and the effects of that on my life and my personality has taken years of research, therapy, and perhaps above all the sort of processing and reconciliation that comes through artistic expression.
As I have made a personal choice to consciously break away from certain patterns, distance myself from unhealthy behavior and break the chain, I have been able to discover the immense abilities we humans possess to cope with trauma, the strength that evolves out of suffering, and our common desire for healing and wholeness.
Manuela Thames is a fine-art photographer residing in Saint Paul, Minnesota with her family. Born and raised in Germany, she moved to the US in 2004 and shortly thereafter began her journey with photography.
Her fine artwork consists largely of black and white, conceptual self-portraits as she aims to explore the brokenness of humanity, the struggles of loss and grief and her personal experiences with generational trauma. Within that she continues to explore human ways of coping, the strength that evolves out of suffering and our common desire for healing and journeys toward wholeness.
Her photography has been described as contemplative, evocative, dark and cinematic and has been widely exhibited nationally as well as internationally.
Her "Trauma" series won 1st place conceptual series of the year in the Monovisions Award in 2019 and in the same year she won the 13th Julia Margaret Cameron Award in the Self Portrait Category. In addition, her work has been published online and in print in such places as Black and White Magazine, Sun Magazine and Shots Magazine.
Manuela Thames' Website
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